McLane Files Opt-Out Complaint in Broiler Chicken Antitrust Suit

McLane Company, Inc. and its subsidiaries have filed a complaint against the broiler chicken producers defending a massive antitrust suit proceeding in the Northern District of Illinois. The nationwide wholesale supply chain services company opted-out of two settlement classes earlier this year and, on New Year’s Eve, filed its own action against the remaining defendants.

The complaint explains that McLane and its myriad of subsidiaries provide “grocery and foodservice supply chain solutions to convenience stores, discount retailers, wholesale clubs, drug stores, military bases, and restaurants throughout the United States.” The filing alleges that the company purchased broiler chickens from the defendants at artificially inflated prices pursuant to their illegal scheme.

The filing names nearly 20 defendants and several co-conspirators. McLane seeks relief from violations of federal antitrust laws, federal RICO laws, and Georgia RICO laws, including an award of treble damages.

McLane joins a growing list of large and small grocers, restaurant and convenience store chains, and individuals, like Target Corporation and Chick-fil-A, Inc., who filed suits in early December, and accuse the producers of illegally manipulating the broiler chicken market. Other recent developments include the direct action plaintiffs’ filing of their consolidated complaint and the Department of Justice’s securing of indictments against six more of the defendant companies’ employees and executives. In the indirect purchaser proceeding, the defendants have moved for dismissal, citing a litany of faults with the complaint and several affirmative defenses.

McLane is represented by Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP and Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll LLP.